Augmented Reality Games Ingress and Pokémon GO Focus of New Community Engagement Initiative Launched by Niantic and Knight Foundation

Press Release

May 4, 2017 — MIAMI — Niantic Inc., creators of hit augmented reality games Pokémon GO and Ingress, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation have formed a multiyear partnership to advance civic engagement in local communities around the United States through augmented reality experiences. The partnership will foster discovery, bring communities together and promote engagement within public spaces by leveraging Niantic’s mobile location-based technology and experiences at select community events supported by Knight Foundation.

“We founded Niantic to give people the chance to connect with the world around them using technology and games in innovative ways,” said John Hanke, CEO of Niantic. “The partnership with Knight Foundation is a great forum to explore how technology can drive civic engagement.”

The collaboration will play out at community events in several cities, including Knight-sponsored Open Streets events. These temporarily close the streets to traffic so people can use them for walking, bicycling, dancing, playing and socializing. The initiative will also tap unique facets of a city’s public spaces such as parks and libraries to bring together people of diverse backgrounds and build a sense of shared community. Over the next year, Niantic will collaborate with civic leaders in several cities where Knight Foundation supports community engagement. The initiative will work to enhance these events featuring special content within its augmented reality mobile games, Ingress and Pokémon GO.

“Pokémon Go has already showed us the impact technology can have on getting people out into public,” said Sam Gill, Knight vice president for learning and impact. “We’re excited to work with Niantic to explore new ways to help people engage with each other and their neighborhoods.”

The first event in the collaboration between Niantic and Knight Foundation will be May 7 in Charlotte, North Carolina, as part of the Open Streets 704 event. Though this first event will be experimental, fans of Pokémon GO can look forward to interacting with 16 PokéStops and two Gyms selected by the city of Charlotte at significant sites along the route. These locations will be highlighted on the official Open Streets 704 route map displayed at the event. To further immerse fans in the real-world experience, the physical location of each PokéStop will be physically marked along the route. 

About Niantic, Inc.:

Niantic, Inc. builds mobile real-world experiences that foster fun, exploration, discovery and social interaction. Originally incubated within Google, Niantic, Inc., spun off in 2015, with investments from Google, The Pokémon Company and Nintendo. The company’s immersive real-world mobile game Ingress has been downloaded more than 20 million times and is played in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. Niantic, Inc., also developed and published Pokémon GO, the real-world Pokémon game for iOS and Android mobile devices that has been downloaded more than 650 million times. For more information on Niantic, please visit www.nianticlabs.com.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation:

Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit knightfoundation.org.

Contact:

Anusha Alikhan, Communications Director, Knight Foundation, [email protected], 305-908-2677.